Cat Names: What Do They Mean?

Tue, Jul 7, 2009

Gifts & Miscellaneous

Naming a cat is serious business. A recent poll by Associated has me wondering if your name choice indicates anything about how you feel about your pet. The poll reveals that 50% of the pet owners interviewed consider their pet to be as much a part of the family as any other person in the house. The poll also looked at whether pet owners gave their pets a human-like name, like Sophie or Bruce, versus a non-human name, like Peanut or Fluffy. 50% of owners surveyed gave at least one of their pets a human-like name.

In the Moderncat Reader Survey, the answers to the question “Would you say that you consider your cats to be your children?” are as follows:

  • 1% No, that’s weird, they are animals
  • 38% I consider them to be part of the family, but I don’t think of them as my children
  • 59% Absolutely, I am a cat mom/cat dad!
  • 2% Other

So, I’m interested to see if you think there is a correlation between using human-like names for your pets and how you feel about them as members of the family. Plus, I always love reading what everyone has named their cats, so please leave a comment with your cat names and other thoughts on the topic.

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246 Responses to “Cat Names: What Do They Mean?”

  1. 1

    Gaia (female) and Telemachus (male)

    We got Telemachus second and wanted another Greek name. It means “always child-like”. As he is a main coon and it’ll take him 5 years to mature, but he’ll still act a lot like a kitten we thought it worked well!

  2. 2
    Chroma Lab

    Our kitties are Sophie and Maddie, and our dog is Cassie. Maddie and Cassie arrived with their names when we adopted them, and Sophie’s name just seemed to suit her.

  3. 3

    I named my rescued sisters Madagascar Bat (Maddie is what we call her) and Splotchy Paprika – Splotchy is a torti, and has a beautiful paprika colored splotch.

    Maddie is all black and looks like a little vampire bat.


  4. 4

    Oscar and Dolly (after Oscar Wilde and his niece) and they are my children!

  5. 5
    Monika Woolsey

    My cats were adopted from a feral colony that lived outside my parents’ cabin in the mountains. I took them in when a forest fire threatened to come up the mountain and the shelter would not take them because they (found out later false tested) positive for FIV. I wanted to name them so their origin was denoted, so I named them after forest fires that had been in the area. Rodeo is named after the very famous Rodeo-Chedeski fire, and Kinishba is named after the Kinishba fire. Both names are perfect as Rodeo is a boisterous little boy and Kinishba (an Apache name) is somewhat aloof and exotic. Although I call her Neesh for short and she’s ok with that too.

  6. 6

    I gave my Tristan his name because I’m a huge fan of Arthurian legends. When I got two more kittens a few years later, I continued with the theme and named them Galahad and Mordred. They are my fuzzy knights of the round table!

  7. 7

    My current cats are named Wooster and MacDuff. I’ve previously had cats named Jeeves and Benedick. I suppose their names are pseudo-human. They’re certainly named for humans, if literary ones. I do consider my cats my family (and my friends too!) but I’d never consider them my “children”.

  8. 8

    One of my cats is named Tika, but I didn’t name her, her previous owner did. However she will come running no matter which cat’s name I call, just in case, I suppose.
    I had a cat named Floyd, after SCTV’s Count Floyd. She turned out to be a girl, but she was already answering to the name so I didn’t change it. Over time Floyd no longer struck me as a boy’s name, it was in my mind only the name of my cat.
    My two other cats are named Serafina (though we usually call her Smurf), and Lily. When I got Serafina, I was looking through a book of Hebrew baby names and was torn between Serafina (which comes from Seraphim, an especially fiery class of angel) and Lily. The following year I got a crazy tortie who I named Lily.

  9. 9

    Cinnamon, a black female who smelled like cinnamon when she was a kitten.

    Yukon Cornelius, a 23-pound orange marmalade tabby. We knew he would be a big, friendly cat so he needed a big, friendly name.

    EVE, a psychotic gray stripey kitten who is every bit as explosive as her namesake from WALL-E.

  10. 10

    My two cats are named Zooey (after Zooey Deschanel, who I adore) and Alice (after Alice in Wonderland, because she is so damn curious). The human names definitely lend a certain anthropomorphizing effect – I do call them “my girls” – but they never let me forget that they are animals first! It certainly doesn’t help that I live alone, however, so instead of talking to another person I talk to the kittehs. AWESOME.

  11. 11
    April J

    Dustie is a recent addition to my small family. She is a 2 1/2 month old Siamese mix and her coat is completely black. She was aptly named “Dustie” once she emerged from under a piece of furniture she was exploring on her first day home.

    I cannot finish this comment without mentioning my first best friend Moo. He was the best companion that I could ever ask for in a cat during my teenage drama years.

  12. 12

    Bobbi and Jack are my cats and they are my children :o )

  13. 13

    I have two female cats, their names are Mia and Tahli. Somehow the names just seemed to fit them, but they don’t have any special meaning.

  14. 14

    Our cat’s name is Isabella, because we wanted something historical. We tossed around some non-human names, but in the end went with something appropriately queenly.

  15. 15

    My cat is Minou. She is a Chartreux, and this particular breed has the tradition of naming all kittens born in a calendar year with names starting with the same letter. For example, in 2006 all cats were supposed to be named with names starting with the letter B. I think Minou was called “Bluebird” by the breeder, but that was not a name I was keen to keep. I in fact looked up baby names and words in three different languages (English, Catalan, French) and had quite a hard time coming up with a not too-cutesy B name for my new family member. So, I decided to skip the B thing and instead went for Minou, which was both a nickname for me as a kid and a translation of “pussycat” in French.

  16. 16

    My cats’ names are Tiger and Boots. Boots is a tux with white paws and Tiger is, well, a tabby. I’m so creative I sometimes scare myself. =^..^=

  17. 17

    Our cats are Montfort Python and and Lola Magee. Monty is named for a street in Dallas. He was found at an apartment complex and when we were driving home, he started making a fuss as we crossed Montfort. We call him Monty and what middle name goes better than Python. It took us a long time to name Lola and we went through lots of names before we realized the attitude behind “Lola” was right on point. Magee is for the character on NCIS, but also because it’s fun to say.

    I think pets aren’t complete without middle names, so that’s why my cats have two names. Before these two, I’ve had Liza Jane, Karl and Groucho Marx, Chet Humphries, David Brinkley and Topo Gigio.

  18. 18
    diana g.

    I’m a huge fan of human names for cats. My BFF of 18 years was named Julie. She started off as Julian (one of my fave boy names at the time) but when I realized she was a girl she became Julie instead.

    Current cats:
    BOBBY: Big awesome tabby lover … Bobby just suited him as a kitten. It’s just a good all-American boy name. Sometimes he’s Bob, but mostly he’s Bobby Boo.

    ROSE: Maine Coone princess … adopted from my niece so she came pre-named. Seems to suit her though … beautiful but sharp-edged at times (namely when she’s shredding the furniture).

    KATE: Calico polydactyl nutbar … she’s Bobby’s little tomboy playmate. Adopted from the shelter at 6 months, she needed a simple, sweet one-syllable name. “Kate” was the perfect fit. I’ve never had a cat that responds to her name when called like Kate. When she’s being particularly cute (which is often), she becomes Katie-Kitten-Koo.

  19. 19
    Jonathon Rosenthal

    To me cats are little furry people. They are dumb for people, but they are smarter than other animals. Their distinct personalities and their ability to convey pretty much what they want is what pushes me towards this distinction.

    My two cats are named YT and Lyra.

    YT stands for “Your’s Truly” and is a character from the Science Fiction novel SnowCrash.

    Lyra is from the fantasy novel series His Dark Materials.

    Yes, I am a geek =)

  20. 20
    Carola Rodrigues

    Our three cats were named after comics characters: John Constantine (Hellblazer) is the elder (11 yrs), Fritz (Fritz, the cat) is the middle cat (5 yrs) and Mafalda (an argentinian comic strip) is the only female and the younger one (+- 2 yrs).

    The funny thing is that Fritz was adopted by my boyfriend, Fred, who later on learned that Robert Crumb had a cat named Fred who was an inspiration to the comic book.
    And, as if this story above was not enough, we learned that in German Fritz is the nickname for Friederich (or Frederico, in Portuguese). :)

  21. 21

    Currently I have 7 cats ranging in age from 1 through 17! All have been rescued at one point or another for various reasons.
    Their names are:
    Butterscotch (17), Harry (11) , Beauregard (9, Beau for short), Arnold (7), Cinnamon (3), Hank (1) and Sam (1). I came upon their names based on what I felt when I first met them, and really not sure there is much of a correlation at all! I don’t have children and not that my cats (or my dog) are substitutes, but they are definitely part of my family. I feel very strongly about people and pets, and what that commitment means. Many people “out there” just don’t understand what having a pet entails, and unfortunately the pets are the ones that pay the price.

  22. 22

    Our cats are named Nyx, Trix and Loki. Nyx is named after a Greek goddess of night because she is dark grey and Loki is named after a Norse trickster god because he was always causing trouble. Trix was named just because it rhymed with Nyx, her original name was Sally but it did not fit at all. I definitely feel that they part of our family and not just pets.

  23. 23

    Where to begin, lol…I’ve got 6 kitties and I really love people names, but sometimes a non-human one just sticks when you’re least expecting it. And I’m defintely one of the ones who thinks of their animals as family :)

    Abby: an all black short haired shelter rescue, I just liked the name and it seemed to fit her.
    Itty Bitty: an all black short haired failed foster, who was the runt of his litter and was just so tiny. He started out with the name Grady, but everyone in the family kept calling him Itty Bitty because he was so tiny, that it just stuck.
    Bella: Seal Lynx Point Persian, and she is just the most gorgeous girl and sweetest cat ever and Bella seemed so fitting.
    High Cotton: an all white Persian, and it just fits so perfectly and I live in the south and grew up hearing the phrase, he is a big boy and quite the friendly little man and loves to strut around talking, so he thinks he’s living in high cotton!
    Sophie: Tortie Lynx Point Persian, the name just seemed right when we tried it out.
    Miss Wiggles: all white Persian, ever since she was a little kitten she was just the most wiggly little girl ever, and we started calling her Miss Wiggles and it just fits her personality so well.

  24. 24
    Catherine Chandler

    My first cat’s name was Dreamer, because he had beautiful blue eyes the same color as a friend whose nickname was Dreamer. That and he was a little magical cat (appearing in a bush, in the middle of nowhere).

    My cats now are named Sammy (because he’s a Siamese, aka Samuel, Samwich), and Amber (a torti who as an amber stripe on her face, aka Amberlita, Amburglar). Their names had to feel right for them, in order for me to name them. They are definitely my little babies and I love them immensely :) When people ask if I’m going to have kids, I answer “I already have two furry ones, and that’s enough for me!”

  25. 25

    Snapshot: I named her such because I really liked the word and it just fit her somehow; she’s the only female in her litter and she was undoubtedly the boss.
    Lump: her brother. His name could not be more apt. He sleeps, he naps, he nods off, he slumbers, he snoozes, and occasionally- if he’s feeling saucy!- he catches 40 winks.
    Martin: My sister and I are of the mind that animals already have their names and you sort of just have to find them. We were looking at him at the shelter in the ‘meet you’ room and I said, “I think he looks like a Martin.” He turned to me and mewed like, “Yes?” He has always answered to Martin.
    Uriko: My husband got to name her; he insists on any animal we have together having a video game name.

  26. 26

    I have three cats, all with human names. Lola is 5, Elvis is 1, and Hiro is 2 months. They are my closest friends, and sometimes like children to me.

    Some other cats I have had over the years: Missy Moe, Abby, Mr. Chinaski, Mushka, Henry, Stella, Charley, Natasha (or Ra-Ra), Eliza, Lillith…

    I do believe there is a correlation between giving pets human names and how the “owner” feels about that particular pet. It seems to me that the more human the name, the closer the pet and human are.

  27. 27

    ben and stuart. i love “people names” for animals, mostly because i think it’s cute and funny (if we had girls we were thinking of naming them barbara and beverly). i think there’s possibly a correlation between pets = kids and names, but i also think it depends on who is naming. when i was little, i totally would have named my cat like snowball or tinkerbell, never ben and stuart.

  28. 28

    Tricksy Hobbitses (called Tricksy) after the line uttered by Gollum in Lord of the Rings: “Tricksy hobbitses! We hates them!” We decided on the name first, then we found our polydactyl calico who matches it perfectly.

    Our other cat is Orange Pekoe (called Pekoe) after a tea my husband and I both love. She’s also a calico. We didn’t do this on purpose, we just ended up with two calicos. Pekoe answers to both her name and Tricksy’s, because she never wants to be left out.

    Definitely not children, but also definitely members of the family.

  29. 29

    I have 2 cats. A girl and a boy. The girl’s name is Misha which is kind of an evolution of the word “Bicha” which is a common slang word for “cat” in Spanish. It started as Bicha without it being a name, and then it degenerated into Misha… which is a good thing because she’s a Siberian and the name (Misha) as it turns out, is Russian.
    The boy’s name is Illy. We named him that because of the Italian coffee brand since he’s white and brown and looks like a capuccino. I should say that for a few months, we (and the vet) thought Illy was a girl, so we named him that, thinking he was a girl. When we realized he was a boy, we decided the name also worked, so we didn’t change it.

  30. 30

    My current cats are mature rescues so came with their names. My previous pair were Brahms and Lizst – and yes I am very much into classical music but not those two composers. So why them – well to be honest dont remember now, it was over 24 years ago!!
    I dont have children but my cats are not subsitutues, they are much loved and totally spoiled members of my world, they are my sanity link at times after tough days at work and a great source of entertainment, frustration and love

  31. 31

    I have two cats, Goddess and Wizard and yes, I am a fan of King Arthur tales. Goddess is a solid white female with one blue eye and one green eye. Got her as a kitten from a shelter, she had a feisty temperament with regal mannerisms. My male is a Russian Blue, cool, calm and collected, always contemplating, hence, Wizard. I don’t think of them as my children, but as my partners in life.

  32. 32

    I have a cat named Waffles and a puppy named Brimley. My fiancé and I call them our sons! :)

  33. 33
    Alison PretaPawte

    My cat’s name is Alvin. I wanted to call him Lance but he already had Alvin when we got him and it just suited him

  34. 34

    In my current family the first cat was named Mersu (from Mercedes Benz which is a good, strong car with great design and four durable wheels, speeds up fast etc) because it’s nice to say that I have a handsome Mersu at home. In real life, I will never have so much money that I could buy a real Mersu the Car, so Mersu the Cat has to fill in the role :-) Then, stylists say that every woman should have a little black dress. Which I don’t have. The next cat, you guessed it already, was named Pikkumusta (a little black dress).

    This equipmet should now take me trough next 20 years or such.

  35. 35

    I have an unbelievable love for my two pets. It’s a great connection I feel towards them. I don’t plan on ever having children and the feelings I feel towards my cats are certainly the most maternal I’ve ever had.

    Mies is a one year old boy. We had a very hard time naming our first pet ever. I wanted to name him Peach, my boyfriend Lloyd. One of my boyfriend’s architect friends suggested Mies, after Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Mies is, after all, my boyfriend’s favorite architect and a great reminder of our city’s amazing architecture. His name is perfectly suited to his personality, although it’s always annoying when people pronounce it MEES.

    Our little girl is named Aggy. I wanted to name her something cute, as she melted my heart the first time I saw her; she was the most beautiful cat. My boyfriend wanted a historical figure to name her after. So we compromised. Her full name is Agamemnon, her short name is Aggy.

  36. 36
    Forever Foster

    I have Fuifui Moimoi, who was named after a Tongan/ Parramatta rugby league player. He is only called that when he is in trouble, though! Usually he is Fui.

    His little sister is Suey. We went through a thousand names for her, from Oprah to Sugar, but nothing fit. A few days after she came home, I was just throwing names at her that sounded like Fui. When she heard Suey, she came running over, and I thought that must be it.

  37. 37

    My cat is named Christie because that makes her “La gata Christie”, which in Spanish (I’m from Barcelona) sounds exactly like “Agatha Christie”… The hideous pun was my mother’s idea and I couldn’t resist. And we are all for anthropomorphizing her… By the way, I adopted her from some friends who had kittens. If I had chosen her brother (which I nearly did) I would have named him Bowie.

  38. 38

    I currently have two cats: Mittens (aka Mitt or The Itty Bitty Mitty Kitty Committee) – named by my husband – and Penelope (aka Penny, or Penny J, or Pretty Pretty Princess) – named by me. Penny was named for the character from Lost, like the cat we had before them (named for John Locke). Mittens… Well, has mittens!

    I’ve always wanted to name a cat Pickles or Skittles, but I have yet to live with a cat who seems right for those names.

  39. 39

    Four shelter/rescue cats. First on the scene were Pierre and Larry, who I renamed Penn and Teller. Next came Spiderman, renamed Sagan (for scientist Carl Sagan). Last came the stray kitten named Steffen (named after a famous dressage rider).

  40. 40

    We always name our kitties based on their personalities or how they look. We have nine fur babies (I submitted their pics to you a while back to add to your slideshow). Their names are: Meeko, Gus, Oats, Piggy, Mei-Ling, Wookiee, Peanut, Tater, and Marilyn!

  41. 41

    I sometimes use human names, sometimes not. Richard the Cat was named before I got him, as was Fish. Agatha came to me named Agnes and I just made the small modification. Graywacke was intentional–I’d had a co-worker who used that as a cat name (we’re both geologists, graywacke is a dark gray rock) and I went looking for a gray kitten to adopt so I could use the name too. Fred is named for Princess Winifred in the musical _Once Upon a Mattress_, because Fred has the lung power Carol Burnett displayed in that role. And I can hum “I’m in love with a girl named Fred” at suitable moments!

  42. 42
    Natasha A.

    We first got our girl. We named her Dot, from the Animaniacs :) . She fit her name because she had spots/dots all over her body (calico/tabby) When we adopted our other baby, a boy, we wanted to come up with something that would go with Dot. We finally settled on Dash. She is dotted, he is a long black cat (a dash!) and I joke that if we ever get a dog, it’s name will be Tilde/Tilda (~) to continue the punctuation theme! :D

  43. 43

    My cat is named Louis (pronounced Loo-wee), after my favorite childhood friend. I always wanted a cat named Louis, and when I went to my county animal shelter to adopt there was a little boy kitten who looked like a Louis. Friends tease me that my cat is named after my favorite brand of handbag, but it’s really after a little English boy named Louis Cole.

    I like how people have added their cat’s nicknames – we call him Lou, the Lou, Shorty, Snicky Snack (a weird one, I know), and Kitten Little (even though he’s two and definately not little or a kitten).

    Fun survey! I love my child-cat!

  44. 44

    I’ve had a few cats in my days and they’ve all had many names. I tried my best to give them exciting names, but they ended up with whatever little nickname I called them.

    BABY, our tabby, was first named Picke Bicke after a Hello Kitty character. But it was too long of a name, so we toyed with PBJ, like Peanut Butter Jelly sandwich until we just settled on calling him Baby all the time. Now, of course, he’s Bay or Baybay, or Bee, or Beebee.

    TINY (pronounced tee-nee), our siamese lynx point, was first named Doctor Cox (after the guy on Scrubs) by my ex, but when we broke up, I just started calling him Tiny. Now he’s TINY HECTOR WEENIE because it struck me that Hector is the perfect middle name for a cat named Tiny Weenie. :)

    TIPPY, our long haired grey mutt-cat, was named by my current boyfriend’s ex’s mother because he has little white mittens. The tip of him is white, get it? His sister, who my bf’s ex still has, has the better name. Her name is CHUNKY PUDDING. No idea why! I always forget and call her SPECIAL CROISSANT. Again, no idea why I always forget and come up with that name!

    Of course, my best cat ever, my little kat-soulmate was BEBOP, named after a cat that I saw on a documentary about how New Yorkers deal with their rat population. He became B, MR. B, and BEEBS. My best friend, I miss him!

  45. 45

    Jodi (a human name that my mom actually gave her) and Poopcat, obviously non-human name.

    They are DEFINITELY like children to me! I’ve had Jodi for 18 years and as far as I’m concerned, she is definitely like a child.

  46. 46

    My cat’s name is Midori Raven Basementcat. He’s a black kitty with green eyes, and Midori means green in Japanese. Raven and Basementcat mostly refer to the fact that he’s a black cat. I love him…he’s a son to me :)

  47. 47
    Brandy Brown

    My two all black rescue loves were named Darth Meow and Leia Skystalker. Yes, I am a dork. My bf at the time and I adopted them together on the day Episode II came out. :)

    Then my newest addition, rescued from under a porch at 5 weeks old, is named Lil’ Battlecat (after He-Man’s cat from the 80′s cartoon). He was an adorable hellion with a lovable scaredy side from day 1. I plan to use veggie dye to take him from orange to green one of these halloweens.

    Naming for me has always had to do with both the personality of the animal and something I’m going to enjoy saying for a long time!

  48. 48

    My kitty is named kiki – and she is definitely my baby. I’ve pretty much been all over the map when it comes to naming pets, so I don’t think there’s a correlation between human names and pets for me.

    Just yesterday I saw a lost cat sign for a cat named Grape. He was gorgeous and I hope his family finds him soon.

  49. 49

    We consider our kitties as part of the family, but I don’t think I’ve ever given a cat a “human” name in the typical sense.

    Currently, our three kitties are named after movie villians. We have “El Guapo” from “The Three Amigos”, and two from James Bond – “Oddjob” and “Jaws”.

    I don’t really remember why we did that, other than we really like the movies. But it seemed that once we started with the movie bad guys thing, we had to continue it as long as there was a surviving villian in the household!

  50. 50

    I have two cats, both of them are female. The first one is namned Saïga. We came up with that name because we liked Stina and Saga, but knew people with those two name, so we chose Saïga, which is not a common people name but still. Our other cat is named Molly, a classic for both people and pets! And yes both my husband and I consider our cats as our children.


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